• California Proposition 34,  Death Penalty

    California Votes to Keep Death Penalty – Voters Reject Proposition 34

    California Death Chamber Paradox: California Death Row Inmates Oppose Proposition 34

    The lethal injection table at San Quentin Prison, California

    On Tuesday, Californians rejected Proposition 34 which would have abolished the death penalty in the state.

    The Field Poll has been querying Californians on the death penalty for more than 50 years, and in 2011 there was a notable shift. Although 68% of respondents said they were in favor of keeping capital punishment, a percentage that had fluctuated only slightly since 2002, the answers grew more interesting when the question was phrased a different way. Asked whether they would rather sentence killers to life without parole or the death penalty, a significant majority of Californians in 2011 said they preferred the former — 48% favored life imprisonment vs. 40% for state-sponsored execution. Since the poll started asking this question in 2000, death had always trumped a life-in-prison sentence.

    Proposition 34 would have done precisely what voters in 2011 said they wanted, resentencing the 726 death row inmates to life without the possibility of parole and eliminating capital punishment as an option in future cases. Yet the initiative lost, 52.8% to 47.2%.

    The Times goes on to lament (sine the Times Editorial Board supported Proposition 34) that it is just a matter of time before death penalty abolitionists win.

    I am not so sure.

    Here is Gallup Polling on the matter.

    Gallup Poll on death penaltyIn a very LEFT tide Presidential election cycle( with wide participation by voters) with virtually NO opposition (certainly NO television advertising), Proposition 34 still lost by 6 points.

    There have been too many heinous crimes in California and there is no incentive to give leniency to those already on Death Row. The fiscal argument may sway a few, but when Californians are reminded of the horrendous crimes, they will support the death penalty.

    Now, if we can only convince the federal and state courts to speed up and streamline the process of appeals. And, allow the California Department of Corrections to enforce the law.

  • California Death Penalty,  California Proposition 34,  Death Penalty

    Paradox: California Death Row Inmates Oppose Proposition 34

    San Quentin Prison California Death By Lethal Injection Chamber

    The lethal injection table at San Quentin Prison, California

    Go figure.

    California death row inmates oppose California Proposition 34 which will abolish the death penalty.


    Prisoner appeal rights would be dramatically curtailed.

    Like other state prisoners, the 725 inmates on California’s Death Row can’t vote. But if they could, there’s evidence that most of them would vote against a November ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty.

    It’s not that they want to die, attorney Robert Bryan said. They just want to hang on to the possibility of proving that they’re innocent, or at least that they were wrongly convicted. That would require state funding for lawyers and investigators – funding that Proposition 34 would eliminate for many Death Row inmates after the first round of appeals.

    I grow tired with the anti-capital punishment crowd, including state and federal judges who obstruct the enforcement of California law.

    I, too, will be voting for California Proposition 34 in November, but it won’t be to preserve inmate appeal rights, but to obtain justice for the many victims of these convicted criminals.

  • Death Penalty,  Michael Morales

    Lawsuit Seeks Drug Protocol Change to Resume Executions in California

    Michael Angelo Morales

    I am a few days late to this story, but at least someone (her brother) is trying to obtain justice for Terri Lynn Winchell.

    The killer of a woman brutally murdered more than 30 years ago still sits on death row. The victim’s brother is suing to resume executions in California. The lawsuit seeks to end the legal logjam that has put a hold on executions at San Quentin State Prison for six years. The delays involve questions over the use of lethal injections.

    More than 700 inmates sit on California’s death row. Not one has been executed in six years. Former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian are on a team of lawyers seeking to help the families of murdered victims.

    “I get sick to my stomach,” said Bradley Winchell, the victim’s brother. “I am asking this court to set it right.”

    Bradley Winchell says he’s been waiting more than three decades for closure. His sister Terri was brutally murdered and raped in 1981 in a Lodi vineyard.

    Her convicted killer, Michael Morales, sits on San Quentin’s death row and is one of 14 inmates who have exhausted all their appeals.

    But just as Morales was about to be executed in 2006, a judge granted a reprieve, allowing Morales’s lawsuit to move forward after he claimed the three-drug lethal injection method was cruel and unusual punishment.

    Winchell just filed a lawsuit of his own, saying he’s waited long enough. He wants the state to resume executions by moving to a one-drug process currently used in other states.

    “I consider 31 years excessive delay, injury to not only myself but my family,” said Winchell.

    California’s death penalty has been criticized for many years. Delays often result in decades passing before an execution is carried out.

    “It’s a sad state of affairs when those officials with the duty to execute the law care so little about the rights of victims of crime,” said Kent Scheidegger, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

    In the meantime, an initiative qualified yesterday and California voters yet again will be asked to vote on whether the death penalty will continue in the state. I, frankly, think that California voters will approve the death penalty – as they have each time.

    Here is a video of a news report that tells the story:

    This Californian demands justice for Terri Lynn:

    Terri Lynn Winchell

    The California Department of Corrections needs to speedily change its execution protocol and get on with it.

    Michael Morales would then be one of the first to go:

    Michael Angelo Morales current photo

    Justice for Terri Lynn!


    The Death Penalty Archive

  • Death Penalty,  Polling

    Poll Watch: Support for Death Penalty Falls to 61% – a 39-year low

    According to the latest Gallup Poll.

    Sixty-one percent of Americans approve of using the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, down from 64% last year. This is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia.

    Gallup first asked about use of the death penalty in murder cases in 1936. At that time, 59% of Americans supported it and 38% opposed it. Americans’ views on the death penalty have varied significantly over the 75 years since, including a period from the late 1950s to the early 1970s when less than a majority of Americans favored it. Support climbed to its highest levels from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, including the all-time high of 80% who favored the death penalty in 1994. Since then, support has gradually declined; this year’s measure of 61% marks a 19-percentage-point drop over the past 17 years, and a 3-point drop from last year’s measure.

    The Oct. 6-9 poll was conducted shortly after the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia, which generated widespread protests and extensive news coverage. This could help explain the slight drop in support for the death penalty this year. However, there have been high-profile executions in the news in previous years without concomitant drops in death penalty support, making it less clear that such events have a direct impact on attitudes.

    There are a number of reasons for the decline in support.

    The most profound is probably the discovery of DNA and other forensic evidence which may cast in doubt some jury verdicts. In other words, some convicted murderers may be put to death wrongly. Whereas, a sentence of life in prison without parole would allow the convicted felon time to appeal – a lifetime in fact.

    There is also a sense of frustration with the legal process. It takes forever to execute someone in the United States – sometimes many decades.

    Less Than Half Say Death Penalty Not Imposed Often Enough

    This year, 40% of Americans say the death penalty is not imposed often enough, the lowest such percentage since May 2001, when Gallup first asked this question. Twenty-five percent say the death penalty is used too often, the highest such percentage yet that Gallup has measured. The rest (27%) say the death penalty is imposed about the right amount.

    The graph:

    And, is the death penalty FAIRLY applied?

    Fifty-two percent of Americans say the death penalty is applied fairly in this country, down from 58% last year, but similar to the 51% who felt this way in June 2000.

    The graph:

    Now, let’s look at the demographics of those who support the death penalty.

    Almost three-quarters of Republicans and independents who lean Republican approve, compared with 46% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic. Additionally, men, whites, and those living in the South and Midwest are among those most likely to support the death penalty. Americans younger than age 30 are less likely to support the death penalty than are those who are 30 and older.

    The graph:

    So, what does this all mean?

    There will be increasing pressure for some states to end the death penalty and changing punishment heinous criminal conduct to life in prison without parole. However, a clear majority of American voters favors the death penalty and a majority of states will resist those efforts and maintain the ultimate punishment for the foreseeable future.

    A separate Gallup trend question, not asked this year, explicitly offers respondents the opportunity to choose between the death penalty and life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, and last year’s update found about half of Americans preferring the latter option. On the other hand, Gallup has found support for the use of the death penalty rising when Americans are asked about specific cases involving high-profile mass killings, such as the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

  • Ami Bera,  Antonio Villaraigosa,  California,  California Citizens Redistricting Commission,  Dan Lungren,  Death Penalty,  Flap's California Morning Collection

    Flap’s California Morning Collection: June 20, 2012

    A morning collection of links and comments about my home, California.

    Today, everyone awaits California Controller John Chiang’s decision on whether the California Legislators who passed a questionably balanced budget last week (soon vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown) will be paid. The per diem pay which the members of the California Assembly and State Senate receive while in session is paid weekly and Chiang has withheld last week’s paycheck pending his determination as to whether the “balanced” budget complied with California Proposition 25 passed by voters last November.

    In the meantime, the California Legislature is in session and have floor sessions scheduled for noon today. Various legislative committees are also meeting. The California Assembly website is here and the State Senate is here.

    The California Legislative Portal is located here.

    On to the links:

    A ‘humble man’ from Santa Paula in the center of state’s redistricting storm

    Reformers in California had been trying since 1926 to empower an independent commission, rather than the Legislature, to draw political district lines. So it was an historic day on June 10 when the first such commission held a news conference to unveil the state’s first proposed maps drawn without the stench of a smoke-filled room or the taint of partisan deal-making.

    To the microphone in a room at the State Capitol stepped chairman-for-the-day Gabino Aguirre, a Mexican immigrant, one-time migrant farmworker and retired high school principal.

    The questions came fast from an assemblage that included a dozen or so reporters and a bank of television cameras. One, posed by a reporter from Antioch, was confrontational: How could the commission have so botched the proposed lines to divide communities in the hills of the East San Francisco Bay?

    Aguirre, unperturbed, answered philosophically.

    “I’ve mentioned to people that Santa Paula is the center of the universe,” Aguirre said of the town in which he lives and once served as mayor. “If I go to a commission and say, ‘We are the center of the universe,’ that is great. But the work of the commission is to draw the state into districts with large chunks of population. It may not be possible to give each community everything it wants.”

    The confrontation defused, Aguirre moved on.

    For the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, many more such confrontations lie ahead. It is in the midst of a rigorous two-week period during which it is conducting 11 hearings around the state to receive public feedback on its proposed maps, a tour that will include a stop Wednesday evening at the Oxnard College Performing Arts Center.

    The commission will consider public input, issue revised maps on July 12 and then enter a final stage of internal review before submitting final maps to the secretary of state on Aug. 15.

    Bera Stays in Congressional Race

    Dr. Ami Bera, an Elk Grove resident who lost the Congressional District 3 race last November to Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River), said June 17 he is seeking a rematch against Lungren in November 2012.

    “We are firmly committed to running against Dan Lungren,” Bera said.

    These comments come a week after the California Citizens Redistricting Commission unveiled the first draft of their proposed Congressional district maps for California.

    Under the current proposal, Lungren would no longer represent Elk Grove and would instead have his district cover eastern Sacramento County.

    Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) would have her district expand over Elk Grove.

    If the proposed maps were finalized, Bera would have to move out of Elk Grove to Lungren’s new district area to challenge him.

    Death penalty costs California $184 million a year, study says

    A senior judge and law professor examine rising costs of the program. Without major reforms, they conclude, capital punishment will continue to exist mostly in theory while exacting an untenable cost.

    Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty’s costs.

    The examination of state, federal and local expenditures for capital cases, conducted over three years by a senior federal judge and a law professor, estimated that the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for the condemned adds $184 million to the budget each year.

    The study’s authors, U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell, also forecast that the tab for maintaining the death penalty will climb to $9 billion by 2030, when San Quentin’s death row will have swollen to well over 1,000.

    In their research for “Executing the Will of the Voters: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle,” Alarcon and Mitchell obtained California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records that were unavailable to others who have sought to calculate a cost-benefit analysis of capital punishment.

    Villaraigosa: Stop wars, give cities more money

    In his first appearance on “Meet the Press” in his role as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented his argument Sunday for an increase of federal funding to cities.

    And, part of that, he said, is ending the wars in the Mideast to make more money available to cities.

    “I think the term was used that (it) is like they are on another planet,” Villaraigosa said when asked about the Republican presidential debate.

    “The fact is, Americans are out of work. Too many people are not able to get back in the workplace and not enough is being done to train them for new work.

    “We are asking that we need to focus on home again, and the issue is front and center in the cities.”

    Villaraigosa said because of the costs of war, Congress has taken money away from the biggest needs in the cities _ transportation, housing and education.

    It is in the cities, he said, where the basic services are provided and where help is needed, Villaraigosa said.

    “We are the ones who are delivering the services, and we find the debate among Republicans as being out of touch with everyday people,” Villaraigosa said.

    Villaraigosa took over as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors this past weekend and he is making his inaugural speech today, where he is expected to call for the mayors to take a more active role in lobbying Congress to deal with urban issues.

    Enjoy your morning!

  • Barack Obama,  Death Penalty,  Sodium Thiopental

    Arizona Sidesteps Obama Justice Department Over Sodium Thiopental and Executes Murderer

    Donald Edward Beaty

    Despite the Obama Administration’s best efforts to prevent it, Arizona last night executed Donald Edward Beaty.

    Donald Edward Beaty, 56, died at 7:38 p.m. local time at a state prison in Florence, Arizona, officials said, in an execution delayed for more than nine hours by a legal dispute over one of the drugs used to kill him.

    Beaty, convicted of killing newspaper carrier Christy Ann Fornoff, had won a temporary stay from the Arizona Supreme Court after his lawyers objected to the last-minute substitution of a drug to be used in the lethal-injection mix.

    But the court lifted the stay after conducting a special hearing on Wednesday morning, rejecting arguments that the state breached Beaty’s constitutional due process rights and protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

    Petitions to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court were unsuccessful.

    So, a lesson to the other states, including California – use pentobarbital rather than sodium thiopental and executions can continue.

    I still don’t think there will be any executions in California within the near future. anti-death penalty activists will come up with another excuse and litigate it.

  • Arizona,  Death Penalty,  Sodium Thiopental

    Obama Justice Department Tells Arizona it Illegally Obtained Sodium Thiopental for Executions

    Of course, the Obama Department of Justice did this to stop a legal execution at the last minute in Arizona, but Arizona switched drugs.

    Hours before the scheduled execution of an Arizona death row inmate, the Department of Justice informed the state that it should not use a controversial drug as part of the execution protocol because the state had illegally obtained the drug from a foreign source.

    The last-minute move stunned lawyers for convicted murderer Donald Beaty who had argued for months that Arizona hadn’t been in compliance with federal law regarding the importation of sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs commonly used for lethal injection executions . The drug is no longer manufactured in the U.S.

    The Arizona Supreme Court delayed Beaty’s scheduled execution by several hours and Beaty is now set to die at 7:30pm MST.

    Arizona had consistently argued that it had properly obtained the drug.

    In a filing with the Arizona’s Supreme Court the state’s Attorney General said that it in order to “avoid questions about the legality ” of the drug it had decided to comply with the request from United States Associate Deputy Attorney General Deborah A. Johnston.

    In the filing it said it planned to substitute another fast-acting barbiturate pentobarbital for the sodium thiopental. Arizona law allows it to change its protocol without hearings and legislative review required by some other states.

    Just another attempt by the anti-death penalty crowd to stop executions. But, some states have changed their drug cocktails avoiding sodium thiopental which is no longer manufactured in the United States,

    However despite the Obama DOJ involvement, the Arizona Supreme Court lifted its stay of the execution of Donald Beaty this afternoon, but it is unclear when the eecution will take place.

    Arizona switched the sedative in the three-drug “cocktail” it planned to administer to Beaty from sodium thiopental to pentobarbital on Tuesday after federal officials said the state failed to fill out a required form to bring the substitute drug into the country.

    Sodium thiopental, which renders the prisoner unconscious, has been at the center of a debate over appropriate execution drugs. Supplies have become scarce in the United States, and efforts to buy stocks overseas have stirred controversy and been turned down flat by some manufacturers.

    Beaty, 56, an apartment complex custodian, was convicted of snatching Christy Ann Fornoff from her newspaper route in Tempe, Arizona, in May 1984. He sexually assaulted her, then suffocated her in what was then one of the state’s more sensational criminal cases.

    Court records said he kept the body inside his apartment for two days. She was later found wrapped in a sheet behind a dumpster there.

    A jury deadlocked in Beaty’s first trial. He was convicted of murder and sexual assault when a psychologist testified that he confessed to the killing in a group therapy session.

    In last-ditch appeals, Beaty’s lawyers unsuccessfully maintained his life should be spared because he did not have effective legal representation.

    He would be the second inmate executed in Arizona this year, and the 26th since the death penalty was reinstated in there 1992.

    Eighteen people have been executed in the United States so far this year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

  • California,  Death Penalty

    Obama Administration Watches as States Scramble for Sodium Thiopental

    The old San Quentin Prison Gas Chamber

    Here is another story about the Obama Administration and their involvement in states desperately seeking to acquire sodium thiopental in order to comply with state court execution orders.

    The highest levels of the United States government were initially unsure how to respond last year when California and other states began a worldwide scramble for a scarce lethal injection drug, e-mails between federal officials show.

    Ten states went abroad to purchase sodium thiopental, an anesthetic and part of the three-drug cocktail frequently used for executions, Drug Enforcement Administration records show. California was one of eight that made their transaction with Dream Pharma Ltd., a one-man London drug wholesaler operating from the back of a driving school.

    In November, as states filed paperwork to import the anesthetic, e-mails between officials at the DEA, the Food and Drug Administration, and Customs and Border Protection document the federal agencies fretted [PDF] over how to respond.

    “The White House is involved and trying to sort things out,” wrote a DEA official to unknown recipients in a Nov. 11 e-mail.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California obtained the records last week through a Freedom of Information Act request. The organization has filed numerous records requests with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and various federal agencies.

    Records released to the ACLU have served as the primary source of information about states’ frantic international search for sodium thiopental as domestic supplies of the drug expired or ran out.

    Last week, the DEA released 90 pages of internal correspondence to the ACLU. Fifteen of those pages were completely redacted, along with the names of a majority of officials sending and receiving notes.

    What remains of the exchanges casts the federal government as worried about the drugs states were brining home for executions.

    Read the entire piece.

    As I have written before
    , the federal government and anti-death penalty California POLS are obstructing the use of sodium thiopental for use in executions.

    The fact is switching to other drugs will only lead to a circular argument method of obstructing enforcement of the death penalty. Then, there will be the physicians who will need to administer the drugs and the ethics involved with that.

    So, just go back to the old gas chamber like the one above, which does not require a physician to administer the drugs or you could hang the convicted criminals.

    Those methods are good enough and much more humane than these felons deserve anyway.

    How long do you think it would take California to change the law with Jerry Brown as Governor and Kamala Harris as California Attorney General?

    Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, thinks one way to impede stall-inducing litigation would be to reinstitute the gas chamber, but use nontoxic gas to replace oxygen. “It gets rid of this whole notion of a quasi-medical procedure,” he explained, when execution is in reality “a punishment” for horrific crimes.

    Of course, first Sacramento would have to pass a law. Then there’d be administrative law reviews. Add another decade.

    Don’t look for any California executions anytime soon.

  • Death Penalty,  Jerry Brown,  Kamala Harris,  Michael Morales,  Terri Lynn Winchell

    California Says NO Excutions in 2011

    The old San Quentin Prison Gas Chamber

    What a shocker and from anti-death penalty Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, too.

    California corrections officials have put off until at least next year any attempt to resume executions among the 713 condemned inmates on death row, according to court documents.

    The request by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to delay review of newly revised lethal-injection protocols until January at the earliest follows a decision last week by Gov. Jerry Brown to scrap plans to build a new death row facility at San Quentin State Prison.

    The steps have stirred speculation among death-penalty opponents that California might be drawn into the national trend away from seeking new executions.

    The most recent postponement was due to San Quentin warden Michael Martel’s decision to replace the execution team that had been assembled and trained last year. That team had been ready to carry out executions last September. Corrections officials have declined to say why Martel is assembling a new execution team.

    The internal corrections department revisions were disclosed during a meeting of the department’s lawyers last week with U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel. The San Jose judge overseeing a federal case that has halted executions for the last five years expressed frustration with the protracted process and concern that the public doesn’t understand why it has taken so long to correct flaws in the execution procedures.

    UC Santa Cruz professor Craig Haney, who opposes capital punishment and has tracked public attitudes on the death penalty for 30 years, said Brown’s decision to scuttle new death row construction to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and the corrections department’s slowing down of its efforts to resume executions are “examples of the increasing signs that the death penalty’s days are numbered in the United States.”

    I think it is time for California voters to ask why there has been such a protracted delay in enforcing the law. If there are problems with the lethal injection method, even after spending close to a $ million on a new execution chamber, then why not resume use of the gas chamber. Photo below:

    The newly renovated San Quentin Prison Death Chamber

    AP Photo

    If the California legislature needs to change the capital punishment law to facilitate a return to the gas chamber or hanging, so be it. My best guess is that Jerry brown would veto such legislation. The only recourse would be an initiative campaign by the voters of California – which of course, will take years or an election cycle.

    So, don’t count on any executions to be held in California any time within the next few years – at least while Jerry Brown is governor.

    No justice yet for Terri Lynn Winchell.

    An attorney for death row inmate Michael A. Morales, whose February 2006 execution was called off by Fogel over concerns that the former procedures could inflict unconstitutional pain, said the latest delays reflect a more cautious approach in the exercise of capital punishment by Brown’s administration.

    “It appears that the state is attempting to be diligent in their obligations under the law, which would be in stark departure from what was the case with Governor [Arnold] Schwarzenegger,” said David Senior, one of Morales’ attorneys.

    Terri Lynn Winchell

  • California,  Death Penalty

    Obama Administration Tries to Obstruct Lethal Injection Death Penalty

    The old San Quentin Prison Gas Chamber

    The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice under Attorney General is doing their best to foil death penalty verdicts.

    President Obama well may have begun another undeclared war – this time on states that try to enforce their own death penalty laws – on the dubious grounds that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved drugs intended to kill convicted killers.

    On March 15, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized Georgia’s supply of sodium thiopental, the first drug given under the three-drug lethal injection protocol used in most of the country’s 34 death-penalty states. The DEA also asked Kentucky and Tennessee for their sodium thiopental to aid its investigation. Why? The DEA referred me to the Department of Justice, which sent an e-mail declining to comment. News reports indicate that the feds had concerns that the drugs were imported improperly.

    In the meantime, defense attorneys for convicted killers have been happy to chat with the press about what they call the illegal purchase of the drug. They never give up. First international death penalty opponents blocked foreign manufacture of lethal injection drugs. Then they put so much pressure on the industry that U.S. manufacturer Hospira stopped making it. As the supply dried up, states scrambled to get remaining doses and turned to a British wholesaler. That created another opening.

    A lawsuit filed in a District of Columbia federal court charges that Georgia, California and other states have received shipments of “foreign thiopental” that was “misbranded” – and worse, not FDA approved. Attorney Bradford Berenson, who worked in the George W. Bush Justice Department, told me he’s not morally opposed to the death penalty. The goal of the suit was to force the FDA “to follow the law” and not allow “the importation of unapproved foreign drugs.”

    Berenson warned that if thiopental is not administered properly, the middle drug in the protocol could cause excruciating pain. “Where this is clearly headed,” he said, “is changing the lethal injection protocols to no longer rely on this drug” – but instead try another anesthetic, maybe pentobarbital or propofol.

    Problem: In response to the thiopental squeeze, Texas switched to pentobarbital. So: The ACLU tried to block the switch by arguing, among other things, that the lethal dose would not be administered by a health care professional. The next hitch: Medical associations bar doctors from participating in executions.

    The fact is switching to other drugs will only lead to a circular argument method of obstructing enforcement of the death penalty. Then, there will be the physicians who will need to administer the drugs and the ethics involved with that.

    So, just go back to the old gas chamber like the one above, which does not require a physician to administer the drugs or you could hang the convicted criminals.

    Those methods are good enough and much more humane than these felons deserve anyway.

    How long do you think it would take California to change the law with Jerry Brown as Governor and Kamala Harris as California Attorney General?

    Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, thinks one way to impede stall-inducing litigation would be to reinstitute the gas chamber, but use nontoxic gas to replace oxygen. “It gets rid of this whole notion of a quasi-medical procedure,” he explained, when execution is in reality “a punishment” for horrific crimes.

    Of course, first Sacramento would have to pass a law. Then there’d be administrative law reviews. Add another decade.

    Don’t look for any California executions anytime soon.